TEMPE, Ariz. — “I’d like to send my love to my wife and son.”
“Until that day when I can come home to you … cheerio.”
“Hello, Mother and Dad, I hope you’re fine … I’m making it OK.”
These and other messages home to Arizona echo across the decades in recordings made during World War II by Howard Pyle, a war correspondent who later served as Arizona’s governor.
Until now they were on aging vinyl transcription discs and existed in obscurity as part of archives Pyle’s wife donated to Arizona State University in 1988.
But in time for Veterans Day, those and other recordings in the collection have been digitized and made available online by ASU Libraries staff, with funding from the Luhrs Family Endowment and ASU.
“I can’t sufficiently describe the excitement of this,” said Robert Spindler, archivist and curator for the Arizona Collection at ASU Libraries. “We spent several thousand dollars without really knowing what was in these discs in detail.”
Before Pyle was governor (1951-55), he was a popular broadcaster on Phoenix radio station KFAD, which became KTAR. For 25 years, he broadcast an Easter sunrise service from the Grand Canyon that was carried nationally by NBC.
As a war correspondent, he recorded brief “Hometowner” interviews with Arizona soldiers and nurses in the Philippines. The collection available online contains the voices of 34 Arizonans serving during WWII.
“These materials have great emotional and personal value to families of the servicemen and -women that are represented here,” Spindler said.
Pyle broadcast a report of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri and was among the first radio journalists to enter conquered Japan.
The collection, 40 tracks in all, includes Pyle’s descriptions of flying into Yokohama, Japan, with the 11th Airborne Division and trying to get control of radio facilities from Japanese soldiers who hadn’t received order to turn them over.
“It’s those moments that you get just a brief glimpse of what Howard Pyle endured in trying to cover these very important events for the world,” Spindler said.
Research on the recordings led an ASU archivist to Margaret Ambos Sanderson, who was able to listen via computer to a fellow serviceman reading a message her father, Arnold M. “Fuzzy” Ambos, wrote a week before her birth.
“It said, ‘I have a message from Arnold, and it was to his parents and his wife, my mom, and it said that everything was fine and he loved them very much,” said Sanderson, who lives in Globe. “That gave me cold chills, I’ll tell ya.”
Her father went on to serve in Korea, where he earned the Purple Heart, then served 25-plus years as clerk of the Superior Court in Gila County.
Spindler said he hopes making the recordings available online helps identify more Arizona descendants of those featured.
“We think that some of those families may contact us as a result of making this public and add to our knowledge of these individuals’ contribution to the war effort,” he said.
Other recordings made available include Gen. Douglas MacArthur addressing the First Congress of the Philippines, Pyle’s interviews from the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco and a 1951 Grand Canyon Easter service when Pyle was governor.
Spindler said restoring the recordings and placing them in historical context has produced “jaw-dropping moments.”
“It’s one of the great things about archival work, it’s the process of discovering what’s really in this material,” he said.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments